As the political season heats up, the number of good commentaries on the presidential race is growing. We here at the Curmudgeon aim to make life easier for our readers by passing along only those that are worth your time. So herewith our first of an occasional series of interesting columns, op-eds and other analyses of the '08 election.
We start with "Clinton Could Lose Iowa, New Hampshire and Nomination," by Morton Kondracke in Roll Call. Despite the title, this commentary also analyzes the GOP race. Kondracke makes the same point we did today, which is that for the Democrats it appears to be a two candidate race, between Hillary and Obama, and that the outcome is far from foregone.
He does have an interesting twist under which Edwards could dramatically win Iowa: under Iowa caucus rules, voters whose candidate gets less than 15% at an individual caucus--that would be those supporting Dodd, Biden, probably Richardson in many places, Kucinich, Gravel, etc.--have the opportunity to switch their votes. A lot of these Democrats list Edwards as their second choice.
We still see no scenario for Edwards to win the whole thing, however. He's not likely to do well in New Hampshire and he just doesn't inspire many Dems.
On the Republican side, Kondracke sees the race as between Giuliani and Romney. We certainly agree with his observation that Thompson "seems to be catching fire nowhere."
We disagree a bit with Kondracke's contention that "it's hard to see how Huckabee could capitalize on an Iowa victory." True, the Huckster won't do well in New Hampshire. But with an Iowa victory, he could wipe out Thompson in SC and Florida and turn it into a three man race between himself, Giuliani and either Romney or Giuliani.
Second up is a piece from Howard Fineman on MSNBC's website, "The Republican Party's three difficult pieces: GOP will lose next fall unless it can reunite the Reagan-Bush coalition."
Fineman must've read our blog post yesterday about the fractured Republican Party in response to Bob Novak's hatchet job on Huckabee, calling him a "liberal." Fineman says the Republicans need to unite their three wings--the evangelical Christians, the libertarians and what he calls the "hawks." This is, he claims, the Reagan-Bush coalition.
We're with Fineman on the first two groups, the libertarians being pretty small however. The hawks, however, include a lot of evangelicals. The group he is leaving out is the traditional "Rockefeller Republican"--low tax, small government fiscal conservatives.
Still, it's an interesting analysis and largely accurate. What he doesn't mention is the significant danger posed if a major candidate appealing to one or more these factions, i.e., evangelicals (Huckabee?), libertarians (Paul) or super-hawks (Tancredo) should go third-party this fall and attract enough votes to lose a few key swing states.
Finally, we'll pass along "Huckabee Is A Fiscal Conservative" from political operative Dick Morris, a rebuttal of Novak's charge (and that of the Club for Growth) that Huckabee is some kind of tax and spend liberal.